Birkenstock Australia HQ


Birkenstock Australia HQ


Melbourne, Victoria

Design Team

Melbourne Design Studio

All images by Peter Clarke

With sustainability at the forefront of its award-winning design, Birkenstock unveiled their Australian HQ in Clifton Hill, Melbourne.
The international footwear brand worked closely with Melbourne Design Studio to create a brief that was in line with the brand's core values of integrity, honesty, and quality.
The final product, housed in a refurbished heritage store-front incorporates a retail shopfront, e-tail, wholesale, offices and showrooms, workshop, courtyard and warehouse with Mezzanine.

Melbourne Design Studios founding director Marc Bernstein-Hussmann says Melbourne Design Studios opted to integrate the different departments of Birkenstock into a single company culture through the sustainable design. 
“Some staff amenities are shared between the building levels so retail and wholesale staff can meet in the middle throughout the working day, avoiding isolation," he said. 
“Creating a green environment within an existing, heritage building is much more challenging than a new build. Coincidentally over a hundred years ago, the building was conceived for a boot manufacturer. We’ve reinvented an almost derelict building to live and breathe its owners’ values.

“Birkenstock is about healthy shoes and now its architecture and interior reflect this commitment. The building promotes healthy living and a healthy workplace. Nature is paramount and forms an integral part of the design.” 

Birkenstock Australia Managing Director Marcel Goerke says the new building and its layout encourage effortless interaction between staff with the open office layout a huge success for collaboration. 
“Melbourne Design Studios capture the essence of what we stand for as a brand – quality, comfort, and sustainability. They’ve taken our requirements and suggestions and shaken them up and poured out amazing new ideas, he said. 
“We wanted a space to inspire our customers and encourage them to explore our store. Our new building does this. It draws you in and allows you to discover interesting aspects that reflect the Birkenstock brand. The customer feedback we’ve received is 100 percent positive.”

Additional sustainability measures integrated throughout the design include:

• A shopfront with living grass floor and deciduous tree
• Carefully selected and researched plants are positioned throughout the building as ‘air
• Materials are low VOC. Remaining emissions are filtered and cleaned by the plants, 
improving overall air quality and providing a healthy work environment and customer
• A central courtyard modeled as an Australian landscape with recycled timber sleepers and
water tank
• A sustainably forested timber palette features sugar gum with linseed oil, EO plywood, and bench tops from recycled paper with bamboo fibre. Most floors are recycled timbers or natural rubber. 
•Double-façaded northern facing shopfront display with two layers of operable glazing.
Adapting to climate conditions, the outer layer can be opened while the inner layer remains
shaded, or both layers can be closed to work like a greenhouse
• Cleverly crafted timber slat screens maximise ventilation, shade and offer protection. 
• Periscope-like highlights operate upstairs maximising southern light, therefore, reducing the need for artificial lighting. These highlight windows act as thermal chimneys in summer and rain and wind sensors close the windows when required. On their north-facing back they carry PV cells to generate electricity.